Saturday, January 21, 2017

"Educate yourself. Read up on current events and books." - Victoria Justice

When I was a student in school, and for all of the 37 years I was teaching English, current events were an integral part of the social studies curriculum. I saw and continue to see great value in following world, national, and local events.  Current events presentations are actually a part of how and why I became a teacher.  My 9th grade American History teacher had a precarious health year the year that I was her student.  I was always a good student, and she liked to begin each class with a current event.  Knowing I would always be prepared, if the assigned student "forgot" the current event, Mrs. H would invite me to the podium to present. I enjoyed peer teaching so much, that I became a teacher!  

I used current events in my own classroom to enrich the curriculum.  Following a local murder trial helped students to understand the legal vocabulary when we were studying the play 12 ANGRY MEN.  A coup d' etat in a foreign land helped students to understand displeasure with government in JULIUS CAESAR. Students enjoyed discussing how real events here in Pittsburgh were similar to our classroom studies, and relevance to real life learning is always essential. 

Our world has grown so much smaller since the advent of the Internet, making the study and discussion of current events especially important.  Students need to learn that Americans are globally connected to the rest of the world, and I have found that a skilled teacher can even teach an Economics lesson through world events.  Our own country has just had the inauguration of a new U.S. President, which presents a plethora of topics to discuss, most importantly our democracy and the uniquely American peaceful transition of power.(I am optimistic that students had the chance to watch the historic inauguration of our 45th President, and that they were not denied the witness to history by teachers or administrators with limited opinions.)

The divisive state of our country makes me hope that teachers who are using current events in the classroom will not color the events with their own opinions.  The classroom should be a place for open discussion, a divergence of opinions, and an opportunity for mental growth; a space where students learn to discuss and tolerate others points of view, even if they do not agree personally with the ideas of others. Teachers have the ability to help to unite the country and stop the name-calling through guided discussions  I hope that all Americans - especially teachers - can use their influence in a positive manner, helping students to become more tolerant of the opinions of others.  

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit  

Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

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